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Knicks defeat struggling Cavaliers


EditorsNote: fixes "finished with" in third graf

Marcus Morris' four-point play capped a game-turning run of 15 unanswered points in the third quarter as the visiting New York Knicks pulled away from the Cleveland Cavaliers for a 106-86 win Monday night.

The Knicks, playing on the road on Martin Luther King Jr. Day for just the second time since 1987, snapped a three-game losing streak. The Cavaliers have lost five straight -- their fourth losing streak of at least five games this season.

Morris finished with 19 points for the Knicks despite playing through an ankle injury sustained when he landed awkwardly while being fouled by Kevin Love on the four-point play.

Julius Randle had 19 points and nine rebounds for the Knicks. Damyean Dotson, Bobby Portis and Reggie Bullock scored 12 points apiece and Taj Gibson added 10 points.

Tristan Thompson had 13 points and collected a career-high 22 rebounds for the Cavaliers, who led 50-49 at the half but shot just 26.1 percent (12-of-46) in the second half. Collin Sexton had 17 points and Cedi Osman added 14 points. Love (12 points and nine rebounds) flirted with a double-double while Larry Nance Jr. scored 12 points and Darius Garland finished with 11 points.

The two teams, who are tied for the third-worst record in the NBA at 12-32, weren't separated by more than five points during a first half that ended with Nance draining a go-ahead 3-pointer just before the buzzer.

Elfrid Payton started the Knicks' run with a reverse layup and a floater, the latter of which gave New York the lead for good at 55-54 with 9:50 left. Randle hit a layup in between a 3-pointer and a layup by Bullock before Morris' four-point play extended the lead to 66-54.

The Cavaliers missed 10 straight shots during the Knicks' run, which Thompson ended with a pair of free throws. That began an 8-2 spurt for Cleveland as it pulled within 68-62. But the Knicks scored the next seven points, including five by Dotson, and never led by fewer than 10 the rest of the way.

Dotson's layup with 1.2 seconds left in the third gave the Knicks their biggest lead to that point at 79-64. New York led by as many as 21 in the fourth.

--Field Level Media

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